In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 ficbit – Awkward

“Do they like that part of town more than the rest?” Orihime was almost frowning at Uryuu. “We have to run over there a lot.”

Ichigo glanced at the all too familiar bunch in the corner; Orihime, Uryuu, Chad, and Tatsuki, with even Keigo and Mitsuiro hanging around the edges, obviously discussing battle strategies before they headed home to more spiritual chaos. Obviously, because Tatsuki had caught his glance their way and was trying to subtly wave a hand in front of the redhead’s oblivious face. Oops.

“Maybe there’s a lot of upset people?” Orihime charged on, as Tatsuki’s waves grew more frantic. “What if we threw a street festival to cheer everyone up, with dragons and lanterns and masks… well, maybe not masks, they could blend in- Kurosaki!”

A for effort on the smile, Ichigo thought. But brown eyes were too stubbornly not-sad to be real. He slid his glance to the quietest of the bunch. “Think you’re asking the wrong guy if you want to cheer up the town. Chad? Don’t they have some wild street parties over in Mexico?”

Shaggy brown hair dipped as Chad nodded.

“There you go.” Ichigo slung his bag onto his shoulder.

“But you could stay!” Orihime said hastily. “And give us ideas for… the party….”

“Like a martial arts demonstration!” Keigo jumped in, all eager waving fists. “You and Tatsuki, drawing all comers, we could clean up on the bets-”

Uryuu sighed. “Idiot.”

“What?” Keigo said defensively. “They’re both good!”

The Quincy adjusted his glasses. “I’m sure Kurosaki doesn’t want his ribs broken.”

Ichigo bit back any challenging snark, because damn it, Uryuu was right. Tatsuki was a good fighter, she knew how to spar – but anywhere near him she raised her own spirit pressure by reflex, and he had nothing left to resist her. All it’d take would be one distraction and broken ribs would be the least of his problems. “You guys have fun. I’ve got to pick up some things for Yuzu. She’s trying some new recipes.”

Nobody tried to stop him this time.

A/N: You can probably guess that times like this are why Ichigo ended up on that skyscraper.

18 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ch2 ficbit – Awkward

  1. If Hei sees something like that, he waits for Ichigo to duck around a corner and slides in next to him. It’s simple, it’s reflexive. Hei isn’t trying to widen the gap, but some things are in the bone and striking at a weak point is one. Keeping as many people alive while not risking his own is one for Hei. His people aren’t in danger if he’s trying to keep Ichigo from not caring while up on a girder.

    Hello, ADD my old friend. Ichigo is trying to replicate the feel of his soulscape. Up high, gravity isn’t always nice, and city as far as the eye can see. New question: is there anything that says Ichigo couldn’t meditate and at least touch his soulscape while de powered? It would suck, seeing the damage, but if someone had thrown him at control exercises he might have been able to carry them over. Also, he might have been able to clear away some damage and heal faster. Rather then hit the nitro button as canon did.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. *G* Nailed it! Ichigo can’t get back Zangetsu, but getting just a little feel of how things should be – it helped. At least in keeping him from trying to throttle his well-meaning classmates.

      Ryuuken will be suggesting meditation as soon as he gets clued in on how bad things are. Because, as he’ll point out, Urahara is many things but not a doctor!

      And hehhhh. Yes, if Hei saw an incident like this he probably would try to slide in. Operative training, plus – though not many people know it – Hei is a dedicated big brother. He lost Bai, but here’s another hurt combat-trained kid that maybe he can help get back on his feet.

      …It’s purely rational not to want to waste all that training Ichigo’s obviously had. Really.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You can probably guess that times like this are why Ichigo ended up on that skyscraper.

    *winces* Yeah. Ow.

    Through I second KohakuRyu’s notion that another, perhaps subconcious, reason is missing his inner world. And it’s resident. As previously noted, I don’t think he really misses the Hollow that much but Zangetsu? Him, Ichigo misses.

    Probably hurts every single time he reaches for his partner and is met with silence. Because you know he reaches – out of relax, habit, just the deep sense that someone is supposed to be there. But they aren’t. (Or like Engetsu, he is too badly damaged by that Final technique to reach Ichigo anymore.)

    Really glad this story isn’t following canon. Because 17 months of this? It’s no wonder that Ichigo was so depressed and apathetic.

    10 Points to Orihime and Keigo for trying to include him in the group, at least.

    “Maybe there’s a lot of upset people?”

    Or a Contractor, a sort-of Contractor, a Doll, and a guy with enough spiritual power to smell tasty to Hollows.

    Through that is not a guess Orihime would be able to make, lacking certain information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huang is perhaps still at the hospital, instead of being sent ‘home’ to recover.

      There was a bullet in his torso. All sorts of possibilities for complications as the wound channel heals. Then, cause it is the torso, there probably needs to be rehab before he is really moving around. It’s probably better to keep him in the hospital a few weeks, instead of trusting the home care to Li.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. My headcanon, Ichigo misses Zangetsu so much he can’t admit it, because if he did, he’s not sure he could keep breathing.

      Orihime and Keigo are definitely trying. Unfortunately, they just do not have the skills to handle someone in the middle of profound grief. In part because they can’t really grasp that a zanpakutou is part of a shinigami’s soul.

      (My bunnies wonder if Isshin was quite so crazy before he lost Engetsu for 20-odd years.)

      The Hollow problem isn’t because of Hei’s team. I don’t know how much canon showed, but Aizen and Soul Society duking it out had to have killed a lot of people in Karakura from unleashed spirit pressure alone. Even about 6 months later, there’s got to be a lot of spiritual cleanup going on.

      …And Soul Society has only assigned Kurumadani to handle it.


      That’s going to bite people.

      (In fact, it bites people very obviously in Chapter 3. …Why are fight scenes so hard to write….)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. In part because they can’t really grasp that a zanpakutou is part of a shinigami’s soul.

        Probably real hard to really wrap your head around unless you are a shinigami.

        . . . you know, Rukia has some experience in what Ichigo is going through. Okay, she had scraps of her powers and was pretty confident they would return but . . . I got the impression, she couldn’t reach Sobe no Shirayuki when Ichigo had her powers. And I’m pretty sure that red collar thing she was wearing also prevented them from reaching other, in addition to keeping her away from her zanpakuto physically.

        Too bad she probably isn’t allowed to talk to him.

        (My bunnies wonder if Isshin was quite so crazy before he lost Engetsu for 20-odd years.)

        Mine too.

        Would explain a lot.

        Because if Masaki was anything like her kids . . . I cannot see her putting up with someone that crazy long enough to marry him, let alone have three kids.

        But the combination of losing Engetsu, then Masaki . . . that would do a lot of damage.

        Unfortunately Isshin knew that as much as he wanted to, he couldn’t just crawl into a hole, cry and scream until he died. He had three kids to think about. They needed him.

        Okay, he isn’t an especially great parent but who could have raised his kids for him? Isshin could hardly leave them with someone who didn’t know about ghosts. They would think Ichigo was crazy.

        …And Soul Society has only assigned Kurumadani to handle it.

        I second your face-palm.

        We’ve seen people in the Gotei 13 who appear to know what they are doing, how to do their stated job properly, take things like a battle involving several Captain-level opponents fighting WITHOUT a limiter would do to unprotected humans into account . . . APPEAR being the operative word, here, I guess.

        I want to think Ukitake, Kyoraku, and Hitsugaya aren’t incompetent . . .

        Through sometimes I think Yamamoto IS incompetent since he either doesn’t notice problems until they blow up in everyone’s faces or does notice but still does nothing until the aforementioned explosion.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’ll give that to Isshin. He did try. In fact, given his circumstances, I think he didn’t do too bad. But he could have used a lot more help. Like, say, letting his kids talk to that Quincy doctor he knows who also sees ghosts….

        I actually have a bit of headcanon for why the post-Aizen mess is so bad? It’s what I plan to use as background for this fic.

        Bleach canon, Ukitake’s division, the Thirteenth, is directly responsible for patrolling Karakura. Kurumadani was assigned there… before the whole Winter War mess.

        During the mess, the Captains were, understandably, more concerned about killing Aizen before he could kill EVERYBODY than worrying about unleashed spirit pressure.

        After the fight – Ukitake’s health is not the best, and he barely survived a fight that left him wounded and exhausted. He’s probably out of commission at least half the time – and when he isn’t, whatever government is scrambling to replace the Chamber of 46 probably keeps calling on him and the other senior captains to settle their various turf wars. And Ukitake’s seconds… can’t handle even ordinary Division business without yelling and flailing.

        To sum up – I picture that once Ukitake realized Ichigo wouldn’t be available to be a substitute shinigami, he tried to get Kurumadani replaced.


        …Hello, heavenly bureaucracy.

        And Ukitake’s just too sick and busy to get it straightened out. And everyone else thinks the problem is handled, they’re not getting conflicting reports from Karakura, right?

        (Because the rest of Ichigo’s friends have been working their tails off swatting Hollows.)

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Like, say, letting his kids talk to that Quincy doctor he knows who also sees ghosts….

        What an AU that would be . . .

        And Ukitake’s seconds… can’t handle even ordinary Division business without yelling and flailing.

        The Thirteenth really needs a proper Lieutenant.

        It’s probably on The List. And Ukitake will get to it. Eventually. Hard when that is a task he wants to procrastinate on. He knows he needs one but its hard to think about replacing Kaien.

        …Hello, heavenly bureaucracy.

        Red tape.

        You cannot even escape it when you are dead.

        (Because the rest of Ichigo’s friends have been working their tails off swatting Hollows.)

        Amazing how quickly they forgot that Ichigo wasn’t the only teenager with powers.

        Or they expect Isshin and co to handle any overflow. After all, they were Captains or Lieutenants.

        (Depending on whether or not the Vaizard decided to stay in Karakura. They have good reasons not to go back to the Soul Society. But my bunnies really like this fic where they decide to. Not for Yamamoto or the Central 43. But because their people – meaning their divisions – didn’t do anything wrong and deserve better than what they have been getting).

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Canon does a really good job of establishing that for all that Ryuuken does care about his son…he’s kind of a dick. And doesn’t like Isshin. At all.

        Ryuuken really wasn’t someone who Isshin cold have turned to for that alone. Factor in that Ryuuken goes out of his way to try and excise the supernatural from his life (only keeping up his skills and training because he knows the reverse isn’t true) and given the circumstances of Masaki’s death and for all we know Isshin /did/ try and seek help from Ryuuken anyway and promptly got the door slammed in his face.

        I get the desire to try and redeem Ryuuken as a human being, to turn him into a more sympathetic character, but his established characterization is such that some of the stuff people are suggesting (such as him helping Isshin and family following Masaki’s death) doesn’t make sense. His behavior so far in this story does fit his characterization. He’s ignoring as much of the supernatural bullshit as he can in favor of doing his job and caring for the living…with the bedside manner of a man who rarely seems to give a fuck.

        Oh yeah, and Ryuuken himself also lost his wife the same day that Masaki died so that’s a double does of “Why the fuck would he care,” on that score.


  3. Minor Thought

    Not that I’m advocating for it but could Orihime’s powers do anything to repair soul damage at the level Ichigo is experiencing?

    Through since she probably helped heal him after the battle, perhaps not . . .

    Or because her powers are so dependant on Orihime’s feelings (Remember, Tsubaki’s attack isn’t very strong most of the time because she doesn’t like hurting people) . . . . Orihime doesn’t WANT Ichigo to continue to be a Vaizard on some level. Can’t entirely blame her if so. She has a crush on Ichigo and he has gotten very badly hurt fighting as a Shinigami.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. one reason or another

        That kind of thing makes the bunnies frown. Because it feels like author manipulating the strings in a clumsy manner because they realized they might have made someone’s super power a little too OP.

        Could be that it was a voluntary soul-sacrifice . . .


        The bunnies like the Don’t Want theory because it fits with previously established canon about Orihime’s powers and her personality. If true, I don’t think it was intentional. More of a subconscious thing.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve got to pick up some things for Yuzu. She’s trying some new recipes.”
    A/N: You can probably guess that times like this are why Ichigo ended up on that skyscraper.

    I can read between the lines, obviously Yuzu wanted to try recipes with pigeons!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No wonder Ichigo is having troubles.

    Fun thought on the tech level of Bleach.

    It probably has to be at least 1950s or 1960s or equivalent. Why? Because Isshin is working, and is able to maintain himself and his kids at a middle class lifestyle, with his kids doing a lot of the household work.

    Eberron is designed for a 1920s feel, has magic, but has low power magic. What does that mean for household tasks? I don’t know, so I would tend to evaluate the ‘Bleach in a vaguely Eberron setting’ design I was doing as being at 1920s tech level.

    I need Yuzu’s daily schedule for this fic. She is 11 when Rukia shows, and 5 when Masaki died. That’s not physically capable of 19th century householding. Not at the canon level of Kurosaki ‘class’. (And pre industrial mills with water powered looms, simple supply of clothes is a major issue.) Option one is outside help, which conflicts with the canon level of privacy the Kurosaki had. (The right fic could use that, like say a Bleach/Girl Genius where the Clays had been doing for the Kurosakis. That said, in Europa, Isshin’s medical skills might not be that much more valuable than Adam Clay’s mechanical.) Option two is labor saving devices, or cognates. Washer, dryer, vacuum, etc…

    So I’ve got to rebuild that setting. Luckily, I have a free hand, and a Kingdom Hearts fic does not need tons of work for the starting area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In 1920’s London, a lot of poorish single people had charladies to clean house while they were at work, often employed by most of the people across most of an apartment building. If you just had a bedsit, you could get on without a char. If you had a really nice apartment, you probably had a maid, a cook, or a valet; some apartment houses could provide you with one if you did not have one already, just like you could get a furnished apartment.

      Obviously a doctor without a wife and with kids and a clinic would need a housekeeper. I do not think you could get around it, without deploying boarding school.


      1. I’m going all in on option two.

        I only really needed the D&D races, not Eberron’s worldbuilding or magic. D&D makes a very low magic material plane relatively easy. And Soul Society can be on an isolated backwater plane accessible from that material plane.

        It’s Yuzu centric, so I kind of need her to be doing the housework because it needs doing, she has a strong sense of responsibility, and she can do it. And what I’m going to do to Yuzu will be rough, though more from her age and psychology than what would be rough and dark for an adult*. She’s getting a range, an oven, a washer, a dryer, a vacuum, running hot and cold water, electricity, gas, and a good refrigerator. And past the tutorial zone, there are going to be older women.

        Beyond the enthusiasm, this is a good project for my current state of learning creative writing. Single viewpoint, and because it is about Yuzu’s psychological journey over years, I will skip over much of her experiences and contacts, as well as the stuff she didn’t understand at the time, or the stuff the adults sheltered her from.

        *I’m not gonna go full Joan Aiken or full David Drake in this one. (I enjoyed Aiken when I was a kid, and enjoy Drake a lot now. I probably would still enjoy Aiken if I had the time for rereading old favorites.) At the moment, the bunnies are telling me that I will want to make a study of Rover Boys, Tom Swift, et al.


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